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Germany’s state loan and grant system: increased rates, fewer beneficiaries

The value of the average loan and grant of Germany’s public student support system, of the name Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz (BAföG), increased markedly in 2017. The average monthly rate for higher education students in the means-tested BAföG stood at nearly € 500, and thus 7.5% higher than in 2016. This is the good news.

The bad news is that the number of beneficiaries fell by about 5% compared to 2016. Rising income of Germany’s labour force led to a smaller number of students with parents of modest incomes, with the parental income of many students falling below the eligibility level of BAföG . As a result, the number of beneficiaries fell for the first time  in 15 years below 800,000. The Federal Minister for Education and Science, Anja Karliczek, showed herself unhappy with this development. A press release of her ministry quotes her as saying that that she would wish to see more families benefitting from public state loans and grants. Society as a whole, and not just the beneficiaries, would profit from more recipients, because more well-educated young people would produce higher growth and more prosperity. 

With reference to the coalition treaty between the governing alliance of Bavarian Christian Socialists,  Social Democrats and her own party, the Christian Democrats, the minister announced that BAföG would, in the present 4-year legislative period, benefit from an additional one billion Euro and thus increase the number of eligible families again. Karliczek intends to soon introduce the bill for a BAföG reform to make this happen, which she hopes will enter into force in the academic year 2019/2020, i.e. in the autumn of next year.

More information here (in German only)